Personal Stories of America at Work

Category Archives: Women

How a Married Couple Makes Hospitality Their Full-Time Business

Cindy Reinhart makes a dream job work on the California Coast

"Running a B&B is hard work, but we can mold it around our lives."

My husband, Charles, and I recently celebrated running our own bed and breakfast, the Joshua Grindle Inn, in Mendocino, California, for just over 10 years.

Running a B&B is hard work. The average tenure of an innkeeper tends to be about five years. After five years they burn out and move on because they hadn’t realized that it is very hard work. We are a little different because we didn’t flee other careers like most people.  

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molly | March 08, 2012 | Entrepreneurs, Hospitality, Small business, Women, Working Mother | 3

How Two Ambitious Women Make Job Sharing—and Life—Work

Alix Apfelberg and Sharon Blender share talent and technology to succeed in fast-paced Silicon Valley

“The nature of the jobs we take and design result in really complex roles. And what we bring to those jobs is more than what one person alone could bring.”

I was working like crazy. I had no time.

Before we decided to job share at a Fortune 100 technology company, Sharon and I worked together almost every day for two-and-a-half years. Sharon had come from a computer hardware company, where she had job shared for four years. I was feeling very burned out in my finance position and ready to work on something new. We happened to be carpooling to a women’s leadership conference, and Sharon was talking to another person in the car about her old job share partner. I was all ears! “What’s a job share? I’ve never heard of that before.”

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molly | August 16, 2011 | Automation, Finance, Women, Working Mother | 1

Mind over Matter: Seattle Hypnotherapist Digs for the Root Cause

Hypnotherapist Lisa Crunick helps clients overcome roadblocks by changing their mind

No, clucking like a chicken never happens in my office. People have lots of images of hypnosis from stage shows and movies, which shows how powerful the mind is, but also how easy it is for people to dismiss hypnosis as a healing strategy. If someone calls me for a past-life regression, I refer him or her to someone else. Although, I have had several clients have past-life memories while hypnotized, and those are experiences I will never forget.

I first got into hypnotherapy when I was teaching a weight-loss class that utilized hypnosis. Part of my job was leading people to discover the emotional reasons behind what they ate and helping them break patterns related to weight gain and loss. The company that I worked for sold the branch office where I taught, and I was suddenly faced with going it on my own or finding a more “normal” job. I had already dipped in and out of the corporate world, and I knew that wasn’t what I was going to do, but venturing out on my own with no marketing experience was scary. I had the responsibility of two children and no child support, but my deeper mind knew it was my life’s work.

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molly | July 12, 2011 | Education, Healthcare, Small business, Women, Working Mother | 8

How an American Woman in the Middle East Changes Course on Career

This essay, by Devorah Lifshutz, was chosen from among the submissions on the topic of career change. Devorah, writing under a pseudonym, is an American writer living in Jerusalem, Israel.

"Like a feminist fairy-tale heroine, I went into labor at the office, my contractions beginning as I was completing a story."

I can still remember listening intently as opera legend Beverly Sills promised my all-female graduating class at Barnard College, Columbia University that we could “have it all;” all, of course, meaning motherhood and work, family plus career. I believed her. Back in 1981, the diva’s words seemed self-evident.

Five years later, I was a full-time reporter for The Jerusalem Post in Israel. I had exhausted the Jewish singles scene in New York and had moved to Israel to find a husband. Instead, I found a career (and eventually a husband too). I lucked out—having neither gone to journalism school, nor even taken a single journalism course—and was plucked from the editors’ pool because of my writing flair. My beat included everything. From demonstrations to gallery shows to visiting celebrities, I was there. I loved the job so much that sometimes I thought I should pay The Post rather than having The Post pay me. Then I became a mother. Like a feminist fairy-tale heroine, I went into labor at the office, my contractions beginning as I was completing a story. Thirty-six excruciating hours later, I was a mom.

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molly | June 28, 2011 | Publishing, Women, Working Mother | 1

Passover Special: How One Woman Makes her Mark on an Ancient Profession

“There aren’t many women doing this work—in fact, there are only about ten female scribes in the world right now.”

Torah scribe Julie Seltzer rewrites her own career story

I do ritual Hebrew calligraphy. I just finished writing my first torah, which took fourteen months. The torah is the five books of Moses—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—which is the first part of the Hebrew Bible. Sometimes when people ask me what I do, I’m tempted to say, “I’m a writer. I’m just finishing up a book, historical fiction, lots of family drama . . .”

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molly | April 19, 2011 | Publishing, Religious, Women | 0

Making a Career as a Belly Dancer

"Like belly dancing, pole dancing has a lot of stigma around it.”

Belly and Pole Dancer Aruna Makes A Career In Fitness Pay Off

From scoliosis patient to fitness fanatic

I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and my given name was Karen Andes. From a young age, I felt I was being groomed for a life as someone’s “lovely country club wife.” That didn’t happen—thankfully! As a young kid, I was very active. When I was eight, I led a pack of girls on bicycles around the neighborhood wearing our mothers’ high-heeled shoes. You could say those were my earliest sessions as a fitness instructor.

When I was twelve, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. I was told I’d be in a body cast for a year and be bedridden.

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molly | April 05, 2011 | Entertainment, Entrepreneurs, Healthcare, Women | 5

How One Immigrant Launched a Successful Business from Her Dorm Room

Russian émigré Aleksandra Efimova launches two ballet businesses from one humble beginning

"They believed in me, so I started showing ballet shoes and selling them to local dance schools.”

Lucky growing up with 420 square feet

I’m an accidental business owner, surprised by my career path because it’s not what I thought life had in store for me. Growing up in the Soviet Union, I lived a very average life. I was born in 1977 and at that time, the Soviet Union was promoting equality—everyone lived in very similar conditions. The leaders of the Communist Party were living a more privileged life, which the majority of people didn’t even know about. Our apartment was 420 square feet and had three rooms, including the living room—way more than most of the other neighbors. Five of us lived in our tiny apartment: my mom, dad, grandparents, and me. We felt very, very lucky.

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molly | March 22, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Small business, Women | 1

The War-Tuned Musician

Fusion musician Christiane Karam turned to music for survival and teaches social change through song

"Whenever I listened to or played music, I was transported to a world far away from the war-torn world I lived in."

Things were very dark

I came to the Berklee College of Music in Boston when I was twenty-six, excited but also apprehensive about starting over after years working in Beirut. Most students were younger and had lived a completely different life than mine. I had spent most of my life running from my life, and not building something. I felt like I was starting from scratch. Most musicians, by their mid-twenties, had a sound. They had figured out who they were as musicians and were on their way. I started as a freshman at Berklee, with kids who were eighteen.

I remembered back to when I was eighteen and stitching up bodies in the morgue.

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molly | February 15, 2011 | Entertainment, Musician, Women | 9

How One Working Mom Finds Satisfaction in her Nursing Career

Nurse Janice Alamillo responds to all kinds of emergencies all day

"Being a nurse is a great career choice for women who want to have families, with flexible scheduling and abundant opportunities.”

Janice Alamillo, Nurse

Alamo, California

Delivering babies in the parking lot

I’ve been an emergency room nurse for twenty-one years. The ER environment can be nutty. We can get four traumas at once. We can deliver babies in the parking lot. We’ve had to put our fingers in holes to stop the bleeding as we push the patient down the hallway until they can get into the operating room. We might do critical, life-saving things in one room and be treating someone for an infected mosquito bite in the next.

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molly | January 25, 2011 | Healthcare, Women, Working Mother | 10

Grandma, P.I.

Private investigator Nancy Poss-Hatchl uncovers hidden facts to help straighten out tangled lives

"I don't think the assailant expected to see a little old lady."

Nancy Poss-Hatchl

Private Investigator

Undercover with a soldering iron

I have a B.S. in Chemistry and an M.A. in Anthropology. I was looking for work after a divorce from my husband of twenty years. While I was married, I was primarily a homemaker. After the divorce, I wanted to be as independent and autonomous as possible. It was 1974, and I needed to develop a career, though my children were still young teenagers.

A friend of mine was a secretary for some private investigators. They had an opening for an undercover operator who was bilingual, and I am fluent in Spanish. They had me go undercover into a small electronics factory where three employees had died from a drug overdose. They wanted to know if there was a drug ring operating within the company. I worked as an undercover operator under a pseudonym and with a fake address.

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molly | January 04, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Job Search, Small business, Women, Working Mother | 20

The Working Chronicles

  • The Working Chronicles captures an intimate look at work in 21st century America through candid interviews with people from all walks of life and all corners of the country.

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